Introduction to the West Village, NYC
With its quaint shops, 19th-century houses, and tree-lined blocks, the West Village is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan. Take a stroll through the winding streets and discover this area’s classic old-world charm.
Jefferson Market Library
The West 4th Street subway stop is a great place to start your West Village tour. Exit on the north side of the subway station near Waverly Place and walk north up 6th Avenue. Straight ahead you’ll see the Jefferson Market Library, which is a current West Village landmark.
One of the few High Victorian Gothic-style buildings left in Manhattan, Jefferson Market served as a courthouse, branch library, and women’s detention center in the early 1900s. The legendary Mae West spent time behind bars here after she was arrested for lewd behavior onstage during one of her scandalous shows.
Turn left onto Greenwich Avenue and make another quick left onto Christopher Street, the heart of New York City’s gay rights movements during the 1960s and 1970s. While many of Manhattan’s gay hot spots have moved to the north to Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, Christopher Street is still the home of many gay bars and lounges.
Continue on Bleecker past Charles and Perry streets. On the corner of Bleecker and West 11th Street, you'll find Magnolia Bakery and its famous buttery vanilla cupcakes and old-fashioned layer cakes. There’s hardly any seating inside Magnolia, so cross the street and sit in Bleecker Street Park to enjoy your sweet treat.
White Horse Tavern
Turn left off of Bleecker Street onto West 11th, and grab a bite to eat at the White Horse Tavern. This spot is a historic pub and restaurant that served the finest literary and scholarly minds of the 19th century. In addition to serving lunch and dinner, the Tavern is a popular late-night hot spot, so make sure to stop by after-hours to wash down your juicy burgers and greasy appetizers with a few cold ones.
Hudson River Park
From the White Horse Tavern, you can continue walking west on West 11th Street all the way to Hudson River Park. This area features a long stretch of grass, trees, benches, and bike paths situated just next to the Hudson River. Stroll along the piers for some fresh air, or join sunbathers on the grass to take in the sun.
Archive Apartment Building
Or, instead of heading toward Hudson River Park, you can make a left onto Greenwich Street. A few blocks down, you’ll pass by The Archive, a luxury apartment building that used to be a warehouse for the U.S. Customs Office. With rooftop access and spacious units offering incredible views of the Hudson River and West Village, it is one of the most sought-after places to live in the neighborhood.
Narrowest House in New York City
Walk down Greenwich Street and make a left onto Barrow Street. Continue onto Barrow across Hudson Street and find some of the oldest houses in Manhattan. Make a right onto Bedford Street from Barrow and stop at #75½, which a red-brick house built in 1873 and once belonging to poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay. At 9.5 feet wide, it is the narrowest house in New York City.
Continue walking on Bedford Street and make a left onto Morton Street. Cross 7th Avenue South and walk a few more blocks and turn right on Bleecker Street. Browse the shops on this lively section of Bleecker and find cheap clothes, fun costume jewelry, and tasty restaurants.
Washington Square Park
Continue on Bleecker Street across 6th Avenue. If you can tear yourself away from the West Village, you can head back towards the West 4th Street subway stop from here. You'll more likely want to keep exploring the neighborhood or head toward Washington Square Park, located several blocks north of Bleecker Street. You can wander around NYU’s adjacent campus, admire the Washington Square Arch, or simply sit near the park’s fountain and people watch.